There are many things you can do to make a tough time easier. Some may be hard to see if you are stuck in a negative thought loop. Here are a few ways to get started.
1. Remember that things may not be as bad as they seem. Usually in retrospect, what may have felt awful wasn’t really so bad, and that lesson can help you make it through whatever difficult time you are going through now.
2. Remind yourself that nothing lasts forever, not even when it’s bad. OK, it’s tough out there, or maybe your relationship is on the rocks. You can wait it out and things could get better on their own, or you could do a little research or counseling and see if you can make things better.
3. Hang out with people who care about you. They are your greatest asset. The time spent with those you love is time that heals your soul and reminds you of why you are here.
4. Read about how other people made it through tough times. I watched my dad go through a bankruptcy, and the whole time he kept saying, “Yeah, it happened to Walt Disney. He’s done OK, and I will too!” That may be the first affirmation I ever heard, and it worked.
5. Trust your inner resources. In your heart, you know you will never be in a cardboard box under an overpass, but the fear may loom, and if you live paycheck to paycheck and are just getting by, you really have to rely on your own strength and ingenuity to help you get through this time.
6. Make cutting back part of the process. So this year Christmas won’t be as big as it was last year. That is totally fine. You can make it seem bigger and better by just wrapping up as many little gifts as you can. The process of opening gifts and finding out what’s inside is as much fun as anything.
7. Get better at self-soothing. Remind yourself that you are moving in the right direction and of what you have accomplished thus far. Positive self-talk is a great way to let yourself know that you are a successful human being and keep you on the right path.
8. Get OK with where your life is right now. This is not the end of your world. It is only a shift. What do people who have lost everything in a hurricane or fire do? If you have a place to call home, then be grateful that even if things are more expensive, at least you have a place to put them.
9. Stay organized. If you are not happy about where your life is right now, you can get lost in your thoughts and miss out on some good opportunities. Use paper, your phone or a white board to keep track of what you need to do and have to look forward to.
10. Remember who you are. You have many gifts to share with the world, and that is how you will find happiness. Nothing has changed about that, even if the world around you is changing in ways that worry you. Perhaps you can take comfort that you are not alone.
Everyone goes through tough times. It’s part of the human condition and the journey of life. It is usually never permanent, and if you have the ability to take this in, then you can get through a temporary set-back and thrive once more.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of eight books and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with more than 28 million readers. He is available for video consults worldwide. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears Saturdays and Mondays in the News-Press.